"All gave some. Some gave all. Honoring those who gave the last full measure of devotion."
When Bowling Green couldn't have said it better when they unveiled Military Appreciation helmets last year. College football is hardly a speck in the big picture, one that we all owe to those who protect it.
New uniforms and helmets have crafted their own extension of the college football arms race, though not all the cosmetic changes are created equal — or carry the same level of meaning. Fans can forever debate which of the eccentric colors and whacky logos are the best, but there's no debate on which type of alteration reigns supreme.
Patriotic uniforms and helmets simply carry a different meaning. Here are the 10 best patriotic college football helmets, ranked.
Like other programs with a red, white and blue color scheme, SMU colors give them a leg up in creating patriotic uniforms and helmets. And they nailed their Veteran's Day helmets last November.
The metallic blue helmets and chrome facemasks were perfect backdrops for a stars-and-stripes logo.
Photo: SMU Athletics
One of two FCS helmets in the top 10, Incarnate Word created a beautiful Military Appreciation Day helmet in 2014.
Color fade helmets don't always work — especially with specialty logos — but the Cardinals' black-to-red scheme meshed perfectly with both stars-and-stripes logos.
Photos: Incarnate Word Athletics
Montana State already has one of the more underrated logos in the FCS, and the oversized bobcat gives them a surprising amount of flexibility for specialty designs.
Last November for Military Appreciation and Veteran's Day, they donned white helmets with the best stars-and-stripes logo college football has ever seen.
Maryland hasn't always received positive reviews for their uniform experimentation over the last decade. However, they fared well in 2014 with uniforms and helmets that celebrate the 200th anniversary of the Star Spangled Banner and the Battle of Maryland.
They include the words from Francis Scott Key’s poem “Defence of Fort McHenry,” which would become the national anthem.
Photo: Maryland Athletics
UCF went above and beyond for their 2016 Military Appreciation Day. Instead of honoring all veterans or even one branch of the military, the Knights allowed players to pick which branch they'd like to represent.
Players could wear one of five helmets: Air Force, Army, Coast Guard, Marines or Navy.
Photos: UCF Athletics
The lone patriotic helmet in the top 10 that doesn't honor the military, SMU's first responders' helmet from last September is one of the best specialty helmets in college football history.
The Mustangs wore helmets with the Dallas skyline against TCU in honor of the five officers killed in the July 7 shooting in Dallas and two others killed in separate incidents in August and September, respectively.
Photo: SMU Athletics
If not for Navy's incredible hand-painted helmets for the 2015 Army-Navy Game, Army's helmets from that day would've been drooled over. Players donned 17 different helmets that honor the different branches of the U.S. Army.
Each position group also wore special patches for different uniforms (e.g. quarterbacks wore 3rd Infantry Division patches).
Photo: Army Athletics
3. Air Force
Air Force nearly broke the internet when they dropped Sharktooth helmets last August.
The AIRPOWER Legacy Series Sharktooth helmet paid homage to the nose art painted on P-40 fighter planes during World War II, most notably by the Flying Tigers.
Photo: Air Force Athletics
Navy took custom helmets to a new level for the 2015 Army-Navy Game.
Seven helmets honored ships in the U.S. Naval fleet, which were worn by different positions. For example, linebackers wore the cruiser helmet because it provides "anti-war defense and packs the biggest punch of Naval surface ships."
Photo: Navy Athletics
As mentioned above, last year Bowling Green offered a sobering reminder that there are things much bigger in life than football.
The Falcons' Military Appreciation lids featured the names of 111 former students who died serving our country. They will wear a similar helmet again this year.
Photos: Bowling Green Athletics